Writing Prizes

Every Spring semester, the English department accepts submissions for the annual Queens College Writing Prizes. Prizes are awarded at a ceremony honoring recipients.


Submit by Friday, March 29

All currently matriculated QC undergrads, as well as those undergrads who finished in December 2023 but are graduating in June 2024, are invited to submit their work for prizes awarded by the Department of English in Fiction, Drama, Poetry, Nonfiction—including Creative Nonfiction, General Nonfiction, and specific nonfiction prizes, listed below; in work produced in the Writing Minor; and in work in any genre, including multimodal work, done in English 109, 110, and 130 (Composition). Students may submit work in any or all categories; work done as a class assignment is eligible. The Composition Prizes are limited to students whose work for English 109, 110, or 130 was done in either Fall 2023 or Spring 2024.

All prizes carry monetary awards in the range of $50 to $500, but the amounts vary from year to year.


Page limits: for Nonfiction and Fiction, 20 pages; for Poetry, 10 pages; for Drama, two one-act plays or one full-length play.

Format: All entries must be formatted according to MLA guidelines for English papers; students unsure of these guidelines may consult the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) at the following address: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/. Entries not formatted in MLA style will not be read.

If you are submitting a multimodal entry from a writing course, please consult your professor and/ or the Writing Prizes Chair (skruger@gc.cuny.edu) with any questions you may have about formatting.

Submissions are due by email (qcwritingprizes@gmail.com) by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 29.

To ensure fairness in judging, all entries must be submitted under a pseudonym; all work will be read anonymously. Please follow this procedure when submitting work:

Students may submit work in any or all categories. In the body of your email submission, please indicate your name and your class standing. In the subject line of your email, please indicate for what prize you are submitting. So, if you are submitting poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, or general nonfiction, please indicate so in the subject line of your email: “fiction prize submission” or “poetry prize submission,” and so on. Submissions are limited to ONE submission in each of these categories. If you are submitting work in a specific nonfiction field (see the list below), please indicate so in the subject line of your email (“nonfiction prize submission, Black American Studies” or “nonfiction prize submission, “Gender and Sexuality,”etc.). You may submit in up to THREE specific nonfiction fields.

Your emailed submission should include two attachments: (1) a cover sheet and (2) the work you are submitting. Be sure that your name is replaced by your pseudonym on the work that you are submitting everywhere within that document.

The cover sheet should include the following information:

Pseudonym, Real Name and Student ID#
Genre of your submission, Specific nonfiction category (if necessary)
Address, Phone Number, Email Address

All your attachments (both cover sheet and your submitted work) should be either Word documents (.doc or .docx) or pdfs. Google docs will not be accepted. Save your cover sheet document using the following naming format: Pseudonym.doc(x) or Pseudonym.pdf. Save your submitted work document using the following naming format: Pseudonym dot Genre of Submission (Example: Pseudonym.Fiction.doc). 

Make each submission via a separate email. Therefore, if you are submitting in three genres, you will send three separate emails.

Here is a list of fields in which specific non-fiction prizes are awarded:  

Composition Prizes in English 109, 110, 130

In addition to the Composition Prizes we have awarded in the past, a new prize in Composition will be awarded this year, for a First Year Research Essay. If you are submitting work from English 109, 110, or 130 that is a research essay, please indicate this in the naming of your submission file.

Essays on subjects related to:

  • Black American Studies
  • Poetry
  • Autobiographical work on encounters with American life
  • American literature pre-1865
  • Late 19th-Century (post-1865) or 20th-Century American literature
  • Medieval or Early Modern Literature
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Children’s Literature
  • Graphic Narratives
  • 20th-Century British or Irish Literature
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Asian American Studies
  • Latinx Studies

In addition, there will be a prize for work produced in the Writing Minor. To be considered for this prize, include “Writing Minor” in the subject line of your email, after you have indicated the genre of your submission.

Faculty may also nominate noteworthy work for specific prizes!

Prize-winners will be contacted by May 3. The Writing Prizes Ceremony will take place during Free Hour on Wednesday, May 8.

Please contact Steven Kruger at skruger@qc.cuny.edu with any questions.

Faculty colleagues, please note: The Prizes Committee is also accepting nominations for the Sue Shanker Award, given annually to “an older student who has returned to college after a hiatus, or recently begun their college career, and has demonstrated academic excellence.” Please email nominations to annmarie.drury@qc.cuny.edu.